Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Urban coyote

Editor's note: A dear friend and co-worker, a constant friend of animals who despite her hectic work schedule devotes a considerable amount of time to a feral cat colony lost a friend and companion of thirteen years this past weekend. The cat came to her as a wild kitten and stayed even as it retained its feral ways and in my friend's words, "Lived life on her terms." But wild is a hard fate to ignore and meeting coyotes in the midst of an urban landscape my friend's friend met a wild thing's end and now her companion is left to mourn and at once wonder at a life so well lived.  

From Maine to Florida and from California to the Atlantic seaboard Americans are increasingly coming face to face with one of nature's most determined and successful predators, the coyote. Once confined to the western territories by more powerful cousins like the grey and red wolf the coyote has spread its range to farm yards and suburban back yards throughout the United States.

Often this first encounter with humans ends in misfortune for the most innocent, the family pet. Coyotes are opportunistic hunters and will prey on any food source in its range, small dogs and cats are no exception. The fact that human companion animals and small farm livestock are attractive to the coyote is in large part why farmers very early on determined that livestock needed to be confined and protected. The same holds true in towns and cities. Animal control laws require that domesticated pets be on a leash or confined under supervision to the property of their owner, not just for our protection but theirs as well. Dogs and cats allowed to roam freely will inevitably encounter other animals both domestic and wild, the result can often be tragic.

Animal control officials concede that trying to eliminate the coyote would be both expensive and ultimately futile. Left to their own devices coyotes will naturally fill the niche created when larger predators are driven out by human development.

Coyotes prey on mice, rats and other small rodents, even insects; coyotes are the ultimate carnivore and while their hunting activity may keep pest populations under control when preying on pests give way to hunting pets, public opinion changes.

Coyotes are wary of human contact and attacks on humans are very rare, unfortunately for our pets that natural wariness doesn't carry over. Alternately, uncontrolled dogs attack and kill increasing numbers of children and pets in the United State each year and still people continue to ignore existing animal control laws.


The coyote is one of the most successful land predators on Earth, behind the grey wolf. Its name comes from the Aztec word 'coyote' which means "barking dog". They have an incredible range in size and coloration. Coyotes from the north are larger (avg. 75 lb. (34 kg)) than those farther south, such as Mexico (avg. 25 lb. (11 kg)). Their color is generally a light grey with black ticking and pale under-parts. Coyotes that live in the mountains tend to be darker and desert coyotes tend to be more yellowish in color. They may have cinnamon markings on their face and sides of their body.*

Coyote's range includes Canada, the contiguous 48 States and Mexico. They are found in a wide variety of habitats, from tundra to forest to scrub land to the outskirts of cities and suburban settings. They will thrive in any area just as long as there is a prey base.

For a first hand story of coyotes in an urban garden read Fab Five by our friends at "The Tucson Gardener. "

*Coyote data: The Canine Specialist Group

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Healthy Natural Dog Food: Part 1 Humans vs. Dog

By Dr. Janice Elenbaas

I have always been interested in knowing how dogs function. Looking at how they are built and how they differ from humans helps us understand them. With this knowledge, we can also choose foods that suit their physiology to help them live long and healthy lives. For those of you that are frequent readers, you know I have a passion for healthy natural dog food. To understand the differences between humans and dogs is to understand why they need quality proteins and whole foods.??

Let’s start with the teeth and jaw. Dogs have 42 well-spaced teeth. People have 32 and our teeth are close together. The space between dogs’ teeth allows food to enter quickly. Dogs’ mouths are funnels to get food into the stomach as quickly as possible. Your dog gulping his food is his natural way of eating. He has fewer taste buds than we do, so there appears to be no need for him to savor his dinner! Our canine friends also lack the ability to grind food. Their jaws only allow up and down movement, not side to side like ours. They also do not predigest starches in the mouth like we do. We get cavities. Dogs get tarter build up, but no cavities!

It takes about 5 seconds for food to move from their mouth to the stomach. Once in the stomach, the food is stored and digestion begins. Dogs have more acid in their stomachs than people do and this allows them to break down bacteria more effectively than we can. They also have this antibacterial ability in their saliva.

The small and large intestine in the average human is approximately 36 feet long. That’s the length of a school bus! A 70 lb dog has a 6-foot long intestine therefore dogs need high quality proteins to be able to digest them quickly. People have longer digestive systems so we can handle eating raw fruits and vegetables. Give a dog a piece of whole carrot and it comes out the other end much the same way it entered!

Complex carbohydrates and vegetables should be cooked and vegetables pureed to allow predigestion. Cooking keeps the glycemic index low to help maintain even blood sugar levels. This causes less stress on the pancreas and liver and less chance of developing diabetes.
If you are like me and have your dog sleeping on the bed with you it’s not a great leap to understand that after being domesticated for thousands of years dogs, while different from humans in many ways, are similar in others. You need whole natural foods to thrive in our environment and your dog needs healthy natural dog food to do the same.

Always remember, Health comes from the inside out!?

or more information or to contact Dr. Elenbaas please visit www.luckydogcuisine.com

Dr. Elenbaas has enjoyed a long and successful career as a Chiropractor to both humans and animals. As the first woman recognized in Canada to treat animals and a founding member of the first Ontario Veterinarian Chiropractic Association Janice is passionate about animal’s health. Combining her years of nutritional study with a natural approach to health care and her lifelong love of animals Dr. Elenbass founded www.luckydogcuisine.com; a company dedicated to providing all American, all natural, "Human Grade" cooked meals for dogs.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day care can be traumatic... and that's just the parents

Occasionally hospice has a patient that needs more than just TLC, food or medicine, occasionally we have a "special needs" patient like "R" whose needs are more basic.

R - we're only using his first initial here until he's ready for adoption, R needs everything. He has to be carried everywhere, he needs to be fed six or eight times a day, R has to be cleaned up after - we'll let you fill in the blank and R needs constant attention. Yep, R is just about the most demanding patient we've ever had because R is only three months old.

R is a little chihuahua that came to hospice after his neck was broken in a household accident and the owners could no longer care for him. He came from a back yard breeder who took him from his litter too early and put him in harms way too young.

His neck is mended now and he has had his first round of shots and today R started day care.

We asked around and found an ideal day care for R, a place where he will meet other dogs his own age - in a way, his lost litter mates and a safe place to learn all those little dog social skills like, "If I chase you, you might chase me back" and, "If I bite you..."

R needs that and so much more that only his peers can teach him;it's called playing but it's really socialization so that one day when he's all grown and tipping the scales at a hefty seven pounds or so he won't be a threat to anybody else, or they to him, he'll be a normal, healthy dog.
I dropped him off this morning at Carlee's day care place after a quick trip to the pet store for his first harness a size 0000. R's first sight and sound of so many other small puppies had to be unnerving. He ran for cover and only after a bit of coaxing would he come out to meet his fate, twelve little dogs just like him but all different and suddenly it wasn't such a lonely world for a little guy with a previously broken neck and no family.

R was in school and this was the first day.

I'm writing this as I wait to pick him up after day care and I'm a nervous wreck. Did he have enough breakfast this morning, will he get along with the others or will he come home with his first black eye and a resentment that I made him face the world alone for the first time.
What if he bites somebody? What if he bites Carlee? Too many what ifs and I'm being a father. This probably is a traumatic experience for R, I know it is for me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

M*A*S*H Unit provides pet health care/safety as event season heats up

Pet events are a great place to mix and mingle with other pet owners, find helpful information on pet care, up to date veterinary health guides, nutrition facts, see the latest pet products and just have a pleasant outing with your best friend - they can also be a hazard to your pet.

Too much heat and excitement or too many tasty treats can stress your pet particularly older animals and those that are a few pounds overweight. Animals can quickly become exhausted and suffer heat exhaustion. Sore, cramped muscles and any number of other minor or major symptoms can ruin your pet's day; not to mention the dreaded costume contest.

The  For Paws Hospice M*A*S*H Unit is our answer to the human First Aid station. Equipped with a a Cool Down station providing fresh water and shade, a first aid nurse and ambulance service the unit is prepared to treat minor injuries and respond quickly to life threatening situations.

The staff of volunteers offers demonstrations of CPR and gives advise on keeping your pet safe and comfortable during events as well as at home.

Stop by our M*A*S*H Unit the next time we're at an event near you and pick up some "cool" health and wellness information for your best friend and make it a safe day.

If you would like to have the M*A*S*H Unit at your pet event please contact For Paws Hospice at 727.639.9285
M*A*S*H Mobile Animal Shelter Hospice is a registered trademark of For Paws Hospice, Inc and H.A.L.O Animal Ambulance. Inc

Event schedule:

The For Paws Hospice M*A*S*H Unit will be in Clearwater October 16 for The Blessing of the Animals, sponsored by Clearwater Unity Church, 2465 Nursery Road, Clearwater, Fl 33764

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wife volunteers husband to eat dog food for a month to benefit non profits for pets

Press Release

9.20.2010 - Lucky Dog Cuisine has teamed with Tampa Bay Non Profit, For Paws Hospice and Canine Cancer Awareness Org. - Company President will feed husband dog food for a month and share it on Youtube.

Bluffton SC, September 17, 2010: Dr. Janice Elenbaas, the driving force behind Lucky Dog
Cuisine is at it again. Known for their high quality healthy natural “human grade” dog food Lucky Dog Cuisine is also garnering a reputation as an off the wall fundraiser for animal non profit organizations. Her dog recently wrote a book called “Educating Humans” and all of the retail profits from that go to animal charities. This time she has her husband Jeff eating nothing but Lucky Dog for the entire month of October to raise money and awareness for a couple of wonderful charities.

With one in four dogs now being diagnosed with cancer each year the time has come to get more
proactive. People just don’t realize the magnitude of the problem and the tie in with Lucky Dog’s
philosophy is a natural. In Dr. Elenbaas words, “When an Oncologist diagnoses a patient with cancer, human or dog, one of the first things they recommend is to remove all processed foods from their diet.

At Lucky Dog, we don’t’ believe in processed foods in the first place. We encourage people to get their dogs on to a “whole food” diet before the problem strikes. When we found we could help with such a great cause we had to help.”

“The For Paws Hospice connection is a little different for us,” said Lucky Dog Cuisine’s President Dr. Janice Elenbaas. “Hospice care for pets is a new concept in companion animal care. They provide guidance and support to pet families at what is probably the low point of their lives.
For Paws Hospice, helps with things that no one ever thinks about. When a homeless person dies who had a dog, what happens to the dog,” Elenbaas writes? “If it happens to be in the Tampa Bay area it probably ends up with For Paws Hospice. They have had dogs taken into homes that were in their late teens that had never been in a house before. They may be lesser known but they are a great group.”

About Canine Cancer Awareness Org                             www.caninecancerawareness.org/

1. Canine Cancer Awareness raises funds that are distributed for veterinary care for dogs with
cancer whose families are financially unable to provide treatment.
2. Canine Cancer Awareness is a tax-deductible non-profit organization whose aim is to raise
awareness of the prevalence of canine cancer, its effects and the available treatment options.
3. CCA's strives to elevate the public level of awareness while working in coordination with other
programs involved with issues regarding canine cancer.
4. CCA works to establish public and private relationships for financial support of the Canine
Cancer Awareness program by the raising of funds through various outlets, including, special
events, and annual dues from Associate Membership.

About For Paws Hospice Org                                              www.ForPawsHospice.org/

For Paws Hospice is a not for profit organization assisting pet owners in Tampa Bay. Like
human hospice, For Paws Hospice assists families coping with life issues; in this case for their companion animal's including shelter, nutrition, advocacy, illness and treatment, long term care and final arrangements for life closure: keeping pets and their families together.

About Lucky Dog Cuisine

Each of Lucky Dog's five recipes is specially designed as a whole meal. It is easy to use, just thaw and serve! Along with their new grass fed beef flavors, they also offer their custom ground turkey option. Calcium is provided by cheeses and yogurt, not egg shells or bone meal. A variety of vegetables are steamed in filtered water and pureed for easy digestion. The company even uses extra virgin olive oil to ensure no chemical processing. All ingredients are sourced from right here in the United States! There are absolutely no additives or preservatives, by-products or meat meals in any of the recipes. Real food with nothing artificial! These recipes are all tested by the South Carolina Dept. of Agriculture and by independent labs for quality and nutrition. “Our food is so good, you can eat it too!”

Lucky Dog Cuisine Inc. is based in Bluffton, South Carolina. Shipping can be arranged for delivery straight to the customer’s door. Visit the company website for details www.luckydogcuisine.com

For further information email the company at info@luckydogcuisine.com

Contact: Jeff Ginn
Lucky Dog Cuisine Inc.
Phone 843-227-3331   

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Poverty and the future of families

Recently released date from the 2009 census predicts the number of American families living below the poverty threshold will continue to growth in 2011.

A report released today by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities predicts thatfile:///Users/harlanweikle/Downloads/Census%27%202009%20Poverty%20and%20Health%20Insurance%20Data-5.pdf

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Veterinary prescription program

The National Association of Counties in partnership with Caremark, corporate owner of CVS Pharmacies has established a grant program to fund discounts on prescription medications to American Families who are either uninsured or under insured.

The discount card automatically earns on average a 24% discount of prescription drugs at more than sixty thousand locations across the country. including most major national pharmacy chains as well as Walmart and on line outlets.

The program is funded by voluntary contributions from the pharmaceutical manufacturers who have signed an agreement with Caremark and NACo the administrators of the program delivery. 

According to Jim Philips at the NACo office in Washington, DC the program was intended to benefit Americans who are not insured and not able to afford the rising cost of prescription medication. Philips stressed that the discount prescription program is intended to benefit the whole family including pets when a valid veterinary prescription is presented.
Prescription holders can pick up a card at most CVS stores or contact your local county administration to obtain the card. The card is free and requires no registration.County offices will also have a joint letter from the NACo and Caremark describing the program's intent including a statement regarding the veterinary prescription component. You should ask your local county office for a copy of that letter in case a retailer is unfamiliar with the  program.

The NACo Prescription Discount Card Program also provides a website where you may download and print the discount card: http://www.rxprintacard.biz/nlc/select.aspx. The program is free and there are no restrictions on the number of times it may be used or the total amount of the savings to a single person or family.

If your community is not on the list you may choose any listed city on the site and download that discount card – there are no restrictions for residency and you do not have to show identification other than a valid prescription.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stem Cell Therapy

Dr. Kevin Conrad, DVM

Stem cells are primitive cells that are present in every tissue. These cells are trophic factories implying they are cell renewing and can develop into any type of tissue.

Embryonic Stem Cells are more complicated; they prefer to form whole bodies and not just repair tissue. They have a tendency to form teratomas i.e. growths containing hair, teeth, bone, etc. They are classically used as an allograft where stem cells from the same species are used in different individuals. Thus rejection of the foreign genotype is common.

Adult stem cells can be used as autologous grafts, meaning cells from the individual are used for itself, i.e. same species, same individual.

Stem cells provide five mechanisms of repair:

  1. Trophic differentiation to become necessary cells for repair.

  2. Reduce inflammation to the damaged tissue.

  3. Stimulate growth factors which increases blood flow, reduces scarring and blocks cell death after stimulation of resident cells.

  4. Provide a homing sense to an injured site

  5. Stimulate the immune system to improve healing.

Adipose (fat) tissue is used because:

  • It has a very high cell count

  • Is easy to access

  • Will continue to renew itself

  • May be used readily as an autolgous graft with minimal preparation

  • Low risk of rejection

  • Provides a rapid turn around, i.e. no wait time for culturing

Current and potential uses of stem cell therapy in veterinary medicine

Hip dysplasia
Knee damage from anterior cruciate ligament rupture
Other ligament or tendon damage
Post surgical failures
Hepatic disease
Renal disease
Wound healing
Inflammatory bowel syndrome
Autoimmune skin disease
Immune mediated thrombocytopenia
Cardiovascular or ischemic disease
Spinal disease

Editor’s note:

Dr. Conrad recently preformed surgical stem cell therapy on a For Paws Hospice patient named Buddy, a seventy pound, eight year old male Golden Retriever. Buddy had a torn ACL and suffered from degenerative hip disease due to and earlier accident.

The procedure consisted of four injections of stem cell material extracted from fat cells harvested from Buddy’s belly fat.

Four stem cell injections were administered to Buddy forty-eight hour hours following the cell harvest procedure in four sites: both back knees, hip and a final injection systemically.

The laboratory which extracted the stem cell medium retains several samples of Buddy’s stem cells in liquid nitrogen which remain available for followup therapy.

Buddy is now undergoing a regimen of therapy to strengthen as well as promote the healthy growth of new tissue at those injured sites. He is expected to make a full recovery and again be able to walk with his owner.

Dr. Conrad is a member of For Paws Hospice Board of Directors and a practicing veterinarian in Clearwater, FL.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus on rise

Animal Health Experts Warn Horse Owners About Early Danger Signs of Widespread Mosquito-Borne Diseases

NEW YORK, Sept. 7 -- Animal health experts warn that fatal cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile are being reported in numerous states, even in areas where activity has been low for several years. This follows a rise in the early warning signs of mosquito-borne diseases that include Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile and Western Equine Encephalitis. This doesn't bode well for either horses or humans.

To help prevent the spread of additional cases, Pfizer Animal Health and other health organizations are strongly encouraging horse owners and veterinarians to follow the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) guidelines for vaccinations against mosquito-borne diseases.

"If horses aren't vaccinated, this situation could become much worse," says Kevin Hankins, DVM, MBA, Equine Veterinary Services at Pfizer Animal Health.

States like Florida that monitor the development of mosquito-borne diseases through sentinel chickens are seeing an upsurge in the detection of Eastern Equine Encephalitis across the state, and in many areas that are not usually affected. This is considered to be a serious warning that unvaccinated horses from across the country are at risk for contracting Eastern Equine Encephalitis as well as other mosquito-borne illnesses, particularly West Nile and Western Equine Encephalitis.

"Historically, we've seen Eastern Equine Encephalitis restricted to the south and southeast parts of the country," says Julie Wilson, DVM Diplomate ACVIM at the University of Minnesota. "But we're now seeing many cases reported in northern regions that include Michigan, Massachusetts and up into Maine." In addition, officials at the Kentucky State Veterinarian's Office have recently confirmed the first case of West Nile virus in Kentucky in 2010 in a mare with no history of immunization against the disease. California has also reported the number of West Nile cases to have more than doubled from 2009.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners says that Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus are considered core vaccinations for horses, along with tetanus and rabies. Though annual vaccinations should happen in early spring, the AAEP also recommends boosters after five or six months.

Pfizer Animal Health offers a trusted line of vaccines, including WEST NILE-INNOVATOR®, to help protect against West Nile virus. In addition, the Mosquito Shot (TM) (WEST NILE-INNOVATOR® + EWT) helps protect against Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV) in a single vaccine. All Pfizer Animal Health equine vaccines are backed by an Immunization Support Guarantee. Pfizer Animal Health will support reasonable diagnostic and treatment costs up to $5,000 if a horse properly vaccinated by a veterinarian with one of its antigens contracts the corresponding equine disease (EEE, WEE, WNV, Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis (VEE), Tetanus or Influenza).

"Given the activity we're seeing in the northern states for Eastern Equine Encephalitis and for West Nile Virus across the country," says Maureen Long, DVM PhD., Fern Audette Associate Professor in Equine Studies at the University of Florida and noted West Nile Virus researcher, "all horse owners within the United States should work with their veterinarians to make sure their vaccine strategies are appropriate."